Monday, December 12, 2005

I am a proud Bengalooru-ian!

A British built, now, the High court in Bangalore

If you came to know India recently, chances are you may know it because of Bangalore? Because of the IT boom?

Anyways, now please, we are changing our name from Bangalore to Bengalooru. The spelling is still being debated. Could be Bengaluru too. But I advise you to practise it well if you plan a trip after November 2006, when the name changes. Else when you arrive in India and people tell you Bangalore does not exist, you may just feel like Jim Carrey in the Truman Show!

Last two weeks, I have been receiving a chain mail about the history of Bengaluroo and I suspect it was a smart way to build a positive opinion for the plan to change name. Well, the name change is not going to solve the city's severe infrastructure problems, but then, if one waited for it, we would never change the name! Lolz.

The popular story is : Bengalooru (now Bangalore) got it's name from 'Bende Kaalu Ooru' (meaning 'Town of boiled beans'). That happened after King Veera Ballala II of the Hoysala dynasty, in 1120 AD, was fed boiled beans by an old woman in the forest. However, more learned people say this is incorrect and the name 'Bengalooru' was recorded much before King Ballala's time in a 9th century inscription found in a temple in Begur village near Bangalore.
I am just a layman and I will agree with whichever group is kinder to me.

If you do not know - the name Bangalore came because the British could not pronounce the original name. Just like they changed Mumbai to Bombay and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala to Trivanduram.

Now there are many opinions about this change. Many say 'whats in a name?' and why cannot the government spend these efforts into the severe infrastructure problems we have. While others think this change will bring us back closer to our culture. Some others see no issue... because when spoken in Kannada, the local language, it has anyway been called Bengalooru. Its only in English that its called Bangalore.

As for me, I am not in a position to calculate the cost of change in a name (books, documents, stationaries, signs etc...) or the social cost of low self-esteem... because we continue to retain a colonial legacy.

However, personally, I like the Indian names more. To me Chennai , Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram have a nice tang and sound sweeter when spoken versus their old (colonial) names Madras, Bombay or Trivandarum . So, I am rather pleased with this change!

And am keen to call my self a proud Bengalooru-ian or whatever the final spelling be. As for foreigners keen to learn how to pronounce it, I am ready to start a new business! LOLz.

There is only one nagging thought. Should we not get over our sticky obsession with independence? I mean Britain has changed, we have changed. More Indians today live independently in Britain against British in India? Should we not just expand our vision deep back into our 1000s of years old culture and be more confident of our future, instead of getting sensitive about the independence day? How many more colonial symbols are around us - for us to remove? Or are we going to forever feel like we are prisoners 'just-out-of-jail'?

Whatever. All said, I like the name - Bengalooru. And am happy for all who feel better because of it.

2 Comments:

Blogger iGotNoTime said...

I notice you are again using flickr, how do you like it? Would it be easy enough for my dad? 555

7:33 AM  
Blogger trangam said...

Yes. Flickr is pretty much simple. I use the same yahoo id I already have. Uploading pics is easy. And then blogging them too. I think your Dad will like it. And the 'interestingness' picture bank they have is rather good. People just seem to manage out-of-this-world pics every day. Your father may just love browsing through them a long time... (Now, I am sounding like a flickr agent!!).

10:04 AM  

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